(Minghui.org) A 70-year-old Huaihua City resident was visited by officials from the Hecheng District Court in the detention center where she was being held, five days before she was set to appear in court for practicing Falun Gong, a spiritual discipline that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

They pressured Ms. Yin Lanying to dismiss her lawyer and plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. Traumatized by the persecution and fearing a long prison term, Ms. Yin compromised.

Prior to her latest ordeal, Ms. Yin had been repeatedly arrested for her faith and served three years in prison between 2008 and 2011 for handing out information about Falun Gong.

Ms. Yin's lawyer visited her on December 13, 2018, the day after her meeting with the court officials. She changed her mind and decided she still wanted her lawyer to defend her at the hearing.

Around the same time, the court officials approached Ms. Yin's sister, who'd hired the lawyer to represent her. They promised to release Ms. Yin right after the hearing if her lawyer was dismissed and no other relative or local Falun Gong practitioners attended the hearing. They threatened to sentence Ms. Yin to three years in prison if her sister insisted on retaining the lawyer.

Intimidated, the sister dismissed the lawyer later that day. She was the only relative to attend Ms. Yin's hearing on December 17, 2018.

Several local Falun Gong practitioners who intended to attend the hearing were stopped outside the courthouse. They were videotaped and questioned by the police.

The judge adjourned the hearing two hours later without announcing a verdict. Ms. Yin was taken back to the Huaihua City Detention Center, where she has been held since her arrest on October 9, 2017.

Ms. Yin's sister went to the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC), a non-judicial government agency tasked with carrying out the persecution of Falun Gong, the day after the hearing to find out why the judge didn't keep his promise to release Ms. Yin.

PLAC officials said that they were going to meet to discuss her verdict and would make a decision in five days. “You can file an appeal if you don't agree [with the verdict],” they said.

Ms. Yin was still in the detention center at the time this article was written. It isn't clear if the court has issued a verdict.

Targeted in “Knocking on Doors” Campaign

Ms. Yin was arrested with more than a dozen other Falun Gong practitioners on October 9, 2017, during the “Knocking on Doors” campaign.

Although most of the practitioners were released later that day, Ms. Yin, Ms. Yang Linying, and Ms. Huang Yuanqiao remained in custody. The police submitted their cases to the Hecheng District Procuratorate on January 11, 2018.

The procuratorate returned Ms. Yin's case to the police for more evidence on February 9. It was resubmitted on March 6 and forwarded to the Hecheng District Court on April 20. The district court also rejected the case and returned it to the procuratorate in May.

The procuratorate initiated a new investigation of Ms. Yin's case on May 18. It was moved to the court on June 13, four days before the new investigation window expired.

While the police were still collecting evidence in their attempts to charge Ms. Yin, Ms. Yang appeared in the Hecheng District Court on May 30, 2018, and was sentenced to one year in prison shortly afterward. She was released from Huaihua City Detention Center on October 8, after one year of detention.

Updates about Ms. Huang's case remain to be investigated.

Woman Listed as Prosecution Witness Against Her Will

Shortly after the court returned Ms. Yin's case to the procuratorate, the police arrested another local practitioner, Ms. He Xiuyun, on May 9, 2018. They claimed that Ms. He was involved in Ms. Yin's case and attempted to force her to provide false testimony against Ms. Yin.

The police handcuffed Ms. He and searched her. They also took her footprint and drew blood. She was interrogated for several hours before being transferred to Huaihua City Detention Center and detained for 15 days. She was interrogated three more times during that period.

At the end of that time, Ms. He was ordered to sign a document without being allowed to read it first. She was then listed as the prosecution witness in the indictment against Ms. Yin submitted by the procuratorate to the court on June 13. She later refused to appear in court to testify against Ms. Yin during the latter's hearing on December 17.

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